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Legends of the Star – Emmitt Smith

 

As we come to the end of our exclusive series “Legends of the Star,” you can certainly make the case that we saved the best for last. It is with great pleasure that I introduce Emmitt Smith as this week’s Legend of the Star.
 
Emmitt Smith may go down in history as the greatest player ever to wear the uniform of the Dallas Cowboys. The NFL’s all time leading rusher had it all and I’m not just talking about his enormous athletic ability. He was a great and charismatic leader, a passionate player who loved the game, a positive influence who made those around him better, and one of the classiest players that football has ever known.
 
Emmitt Smith burst onto the national scene while playing running back for the University of Florida. He set many school records as a Gator including their single game and season rushing records, and all of their scoring records. After three years at Florida he had scored 37 touchdowns, had 23 100-yard rushing games, was a NCAA All-American and still holds 58 school records. Emmitt opted not to complete his senior year and decided to enter the NFL draft.
 
After posting the worst record in franchise history at 1-15, the Cowboys drafted Emmitt Smith in the first round of the 1990 draft. Head coach Jimmy Johnson felt that Emmitt was the kind of player who could be the cornerstone of the team’s offense. He was right.
 
Over the next twelve seasons, Emmitt captured the hearts of Cowboy fans everywhere with his intensity and hard-nosed style of play. Together with Michael Irvin and Troy Aikman they formed the most lethal offensive punch that the game had ever seen. Emmitt Smith had real nose for the endzone and was nearly unstoppable inside the ten-yard line. During his career in Dallas, he was able to help lead the Cowboys to three Super Bowl Championships, lead the NFL in rushing four times, was the league MVP in 1993, and MVP of Super Bowl XXVIII. He was selected to eight Pro Bowls and was the first player in NFL history to rush for over 1,000 yards in 11 consecutive seasons.
 
Emmitt Smith now holds the NFL record in career rushing yards with 18,355, breaking the previous record held by his childhood idol, and former great, Walter Payton. Besides this prestigious record, Emmitt holds over a dozen other NFL records including the all time career rushing touchdown record with 166 scores. He is one of only two non-kickers to score over 1000 points in his career, the other being Jerry Rice.
 
Next week, on July 21st Emmitt Smith will be enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame.
 
On September 19, 2005, Emmitt Smith was enshrined in the Cowboys Ring of Honor along with his former teammates Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin. He is sure to be a first ballot NFL Hall of Famer as soon as he becomes eligible in 2010.
 
It was a great pleasure reviewing all of the great players that have graced the “Silver and Blue” and I hope you enjoyed reading each of our weekly editions. Now it’s time to get ready for another great season of Cowboys football. I hope you check in with StarStruck each and every day for our ongoing continuous coverage of everything near and dear to the Dallas Cowboys.

 

 

Legends of the Star is an exclusive weekly feature found only on StarStruck. Each week we will profile one of the many interesting personalities that have played for the Dallas Cowboys. 

Legends of the Star – Troy Aikman

As we get close to the end of our Legends of the Star feature, I finally get to profile one of my personal all time favorite Cowboys, Troy Aikman.
 
Troy was almost a legend even before he started playing professional football. As a college player, he played for both UCLA and the school he first enrolled with, the University of Oklahoma. While at Oklahoma he played for future Dallas Cowboys coach Barry Switzer. Aikman was the teams biggest star, but because their offense wasn’t suited to his style of play, he transferred to UCLA a year later, where he gained national attention. He set over a dozen team records that still stand today and led the Bruins to the Aloha Bowl in 1987 where he compiled a 10-2 record. A year later as a senior, he won the Davey O’Brien Award which is given each year to the nations top quarterback. He was a consensus All-American, West Coast Player of the Year, and finished third for the 1988 Heisman Trophy.
 
In 1989, the Cowboys had a new owner in Jerry Jones, and a new head coach in Jimmy Johnson. That year the two of them drafted Troy Aikman with their first round pick in the NFL Draft. It was a move that would change the destiny of the franchise for the next decade.
 
Although Troy finished his first year with a disappointing 0-11 record, everyone could see that he was bursting with talent, and that he was a natural born leader. All he would need is a supporting cast, and the following season the Cowboys provided Aikman with everything he would need to lead the team into greatness.
 
In 1990, Aikman completed 226 of 399 passes for 2,579 yards and 11 touchdowns and the team improved to 7-9, but the following year he completed an NFC-best 65.3 percent of his passes, and the Cowboys improved again to 11-5 and advanced to the second round of the playoffs.
In 1992, everything started to come together for Aikman and the rest of the Cowboys as they were about to unleash their new high powered offense to the rest of the league. That year, the Cowboys rocketed to the Super Bowl with an explosive display of offensive power coupled with a bruising defense. The Cowboys finished the season with a 13-3 record, and Troy Aikman was named Super Bowl MVP.

For the next three seasons, the Cowboys compiled a 36-9 record, and snatched two more Super Bowl titles. Together with running back, Emmitt Smith, and wide receiver, Michael Irvin, the "Triplets" were football’s biggest stars. They were unstoppable and punished opposing defenses with a hard-hitting, lightning fast attack, that had not been seen in the game before, or since.

With 90 wins in the 1990s, Aikman became the winningest starting quarterback of any decade in NFL history. Unfortunately, during his final two seasons, injuries began to take a toll on him, and after sustaining ten concussions, the Cowboys’ six-time Pro Bowl selection announced his retirement from football.

His career statistics included a team record 32,942 yards and an amazing 165 touchdowns for a passer rating of 81.6. On September 19, 2005, during a broadcast on Monday Night Football, Troy Aikman was inducted into the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor with his longtime teammates Michael Irvin and Emmitt Smith. The following year, Troy was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame at Canton, Ohio and gave a teary eyed acceptance speech that no Cowboy fan can ever forget. He is forever, a true Legend of the Star.

 

Legends of the Star is an exclusive weekly feature found only on StarStruck. Each week we will profile one of the many interesting personalities that have played for the Dallas Cowboys. 

Legends of the Star – Bill Bates

Bill Bates started his career while playing as a safety for the University of Tennessee. While he was there he was named second-team All-Southeastern Conference his junior and senior seasons, and developed a reputation as the team’s hardest hitter and quickest tackler.
 
Bill Bates was much smaller than other safeties in the league and for that reason he was not drafted in the NFL Draft. However, the Cowboys were impressed with his sheer determination and heart that he displayed in college and decided to sign him as an undrafted player in 1983. Bill immediately became a visible figure on the field with his ferocious special teams play. It was due to his amazing seaon as a fierce special teams player that the NFL changed the rules and added a spot on the Pro-Bowl team for special teams coverage player. In 1984, he became the first NFL player to be honored.
 
Bill was an inspirational leader both on and off the field, and in 1990 Head Coach Jimmy Johnson named him the Cowboy’s Special Team’s captain. He held that position for the duration of his career with Dallas Cowboys, a career that spanned from 1983-1996.
 
Bill was a big part of the 1992, 1993 and 1995 Super Bowl Champions team, and has been a long time favorite of Cowboys fans. While playing linebacker, his last minute interception at Chicago’s Soldier Field preserved Dallas’ 17 – 13 win in the team’s triumphant return to the playoffs after a six year absence, and will surely go down as one of the big plays in the rebuilding of the Dallas Cowboys.
 
Bill was selected to the All-Madden Team for twelve years in a row, and was named the winner of the Bob Lilly Award four years in a row, from 1990 – 1994. This award is selected by a vote of the fans and annually goes to the Cowboy player who displays leadership and character on and off the field. He is a true Legend of the Star.
 
Legends of the Star is an exclusive weekly feature found only on StarStruck. Each week we will profile one of the many interesting personalities that have played for the Dallas Cowboys. 

Anyone Else Having Cowboy Withdrawals?

Can you believe it’s been over two months since the season ended? I can’t believe how quickly the off-season seems to be going. I guess we have Jerry Jones to thank for that. He really has made the off-season so much more interesting for us with the way he took his time searching for the best man for the job as our head coach, and all the off-season signings weren’t so bad either.
 
I am so glad that Julius Jones and Marion Barber will be together again in our backfield for the 2007 season! Well, maybe not at the same time, but who cares, it’s a lethal 1-2 punch!
 
I wonder if the media will finally stop obsessing over Terrell Owens once the pre season starts? I figure now that he has a season under his belt in Dallas that he won’t be such a hot topic anymore. Of course it’s also dependent on T.O. behaving himself, but come on, he’s really putting forth a great effort lately at being team oriented.
 
StarStruck is looking for a couple of writers who might be interested submitting a weekly column. If interested, please contact us for more details.
 
That’s all for now… GO COWBOYS!

Legends of the Star – Drew Pearson

 

Last week when I wrote up Roger Staubach’s “Legend of the Star,” I mentioned the famed “Hail Mary” pass. Who better to follow up last weeks “Legend of the Star” than the recipient of that famous catch, wide receiver, Drew Pearson.

Drew Pearson, or “Mr. Clutch” as he was commonly called, didn’t start his career out as wide receiver, and in fact he replaced Hall of Famer, Joe Theismann, at quarterback, when he began his football career at South River High School.

Soon after, he attended the University of Tulsa and graduated in 1972. While he was there he won the university’s President Award. Drew was not drafted in the NFL draft, mostly because he was wide receiver in run based offense while in college. However, that did not stop the Cowboys from drafting Pearson as a free agent in 1973 and blossoming into one of the greatest wide receivers ever to play the game.

Drew got his nickname because of his many game-winning catches and his ability to make a clutch play whenever his team needed one. Legendary Cowboys head coach, Tom Landry, had this to say after the famous “Hail Mary” game, “It was amazing, unbelievable. I can’t believe the ball stuck on Drew’s hip like that. It was a thousand-to-one shot, but I tell you, I’ll take it. The game was out of my hands.”

Drew Pearson helped the Cowboys to three Super Bowl appearances and a victory in Super Bowl XII in 1978. He was named All-Pro 3 times and made Pro Bowl appearances in 1974, 1976 and 1977. He led the NFC in pass receptions in 1976 with 58. He also served as a captain for the Cowboys for four years. He ended his marvelous career with 489 receptions and 7,822 receiving yards, and 50 touchdowns. He was named to the NFL’s 1970’s All-Decade Team.

Since his retirement in 1983, Drew has gone on to become a sports broadcaster for CBS and HBO; and he also hosted the Dallas Cowboys post-game show. He will always be remembered as one of the greatest receivers ever to wear the Dallas Cowboys uniform.

 

Legends of the Star is an exclusive weekly feature found only on StarStruck. Each week we will profile one of the many interesting personalities that have played for the Dallas Cowboys. 

Wade Phillips to be Cowboys Head Coach

 

  A formal announcement will be made today at 5 p.m., but reports are saying Wade Phillips is the Dallas Cowboys next head coach. Phillips was the only candidate who would keep the 3-4 defense and Jerry Jones did not want to have a losing record for 2 years while a coach came in and redesigned the team. Phillips was also supportive of Jason Garrett the new offensive coordinator hired by Jones.

The San Diego Chargers went 14-2 in the regular season with its defense run by Wade Phillips. Phillips was the head coach of Denver Broncos and Buffalo Bills with a 48-39 record.

The Wait Continues…

 

 

Jerry Jones announced that the new head coach will not be named until after the Super Bowl. Its a great choice by Jones. I’m glad he’s not rushing into this but it certainly makes you wonder if Ron Rivera may be a candidate for a position. Rivera’s contract with the Bears expires after the Super Bowl. For those of you who are still rooting for Norv Turner as head coach, I hear he’s likes Ron Rivera for defense. So it would be logical for Jones to wait until Rivera’s job is done in Chicago before moving forward.

Future Looks Bright

 

The future is looking bright in Dallas. Norv Turner spent the day with Jerry Jones and Bill Parcells interviewing for what could be the biggest move of his career. Turner has an impressive resume and a history with the Dallas Cowboys that could be the decision maker. He has been the head coach of the Washington Redskins and the Oakland Raiders, and the Offensive Coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins, San Diego Chargers and currently the San Franscisco 49ers.

Turner was with the Cowboys when they won back-to-back Super Bowls in 1992 and 1993. He guided hall of famer Troy Aikman during those years and could be quite an influence on the young Tony Romo. Alongside the new Offensive Coordinator Jason Garrett, Turner could help lead this team to a championship season. Garrett worked under Turner in the 90s and Turner tried to get Garrett on his team in Oakland. The two could work wonders for the Dallas offense. Which only leaves one question… Defense anyone?

Back in Dallas

 

 

 

Jason Garrett… name sounds familiar. Oh yeah, he was Troy Aikman’s back up QB in the 90s. Those were some great years! Even though Garrett didn’t get to play very often, he was still there taking it all in. And now after a day long meeting at the Ranch with Jerry and Stephen Jones and Bill Parcells, Garrett has been offered the job as Offensive Coordinator. Not only that but he is now one of the top candidates for the Head Coach Opening. What? This guy wasn’t even on anyone’s list as a probable contender. Well, since when does that matter?

Wade Phillips seems to be a very likely possibility. The Dallas Cowboys requested and were granted permission from the Chargers to talk to Phillips. During an interview the native Texan told reporters:

"I’m really happy where I am. I can’t say enough about the (Chargers’) organization and the players and the fans. But I have family and a home there. Us Texans, even though we haven’t been there in 20 years, it’s always home and the Cowboys are our home team."

That sounds pretty promising to me. Considering the way the 06 Chargers season went, I think I’d be happy with that. Phillips has been head coach of 4 NFL teams: Saints, Falcons, Bills and Broncos. He has the experience and has been very successful most recently as the defensive coordinator of the San Diego Chargers who were 14-2 this past season.

I believe Phillips and Garrett would make an awesome pair. However there are still other names and possibilities that have been tossed around and no decision has been confirmed yet. So back to the waiting game. I feel confident whatever the decision, that 2007 will be a very successful year for the Dallas Cowboys. A new leader… a new year… a new outlook.